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 Response Page - Garcia  Interview -      
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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the 
Hector Garcia  Interview of
09-12-2014.

Immigrants are key to Minnesota’s economic future

OVERVIEW

According to Minnesota Chicano Latino Affairs Council (CLAC) Executive Director Hector Garcia, the Latino population in Minnesota has grown rapidly over the past decade and now numbers nearly 300,000, of which 40 to 50 percent are immigrants. He notes that the Latino population in the state grew by 74.5 percent between 2000 and 2010. In comparison, Minnesota's more rapidly aging and retiring European American community grew by only 1.6 percent during that period.

In the foreseeable future, Garcia points out, 70 percent of the jobs in Minnesota will require some kind of postsecondary education. Further, demographers predict a workforce shortage in Minnesota by 2020. Garcia wonders who will fill those jobs, given the current educational disparities that afflict the Latino and other non-majority communities.

The solution to both challenges, he believes, is changing society's view of Latino and other immigrants. Too often, immigrants are funneled into the social service system, which might help to address past injustices, but is not as good at building for the future. Although some immigrants may need the social service system for a short time, Garcia asserts that immigrants and society will be better served longer term if we find ways to harness immigrants' energy, diverse cultural perspectives, youth, hard work and ambition. As with past waves of immigration in the U.S., newer immigrants, under this paradigm shift, could again serve as the engine of economic growth.

While there are significant differences between 20th and 21st century demographics that will affect immigrants' success in making economic headway today, Garcia is optimistic about their propspects. He wants society generally and the educational systems in particular to understand that Latino students' countries of origin increasingly play a pivotal role in Minnesota's globalized economy. If that connection were fully grasped, those students might no longer be burdened by low expectations, but, instead, be empowered to be bridges of culture, language and economic interests. Speaking a second language, he cites as an example, should be viewed as an asset in a global economy, not a deficit, as it often is now.

For the complete interview summary see: Garcia interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree):

1. Topic is of value. (8.9 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (7.6 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Immigrants bring economic benefit. (8.9 average response) Minnesota's Latinos and other immigrants represent a huge potential economic benefit to the state.

4. Immigrants will reduce worker shortage. (8.7 average response) Better integration of its immigrants into the workforce will help Minnesota overcome a growing shortage in people of working age.

5. Cultural views limit potential. (8.4 average response) However, the potential of immigrants to alleviate that shortage is restricted when immigrants are regarded primarily as social service burdens, not engines of economic growth.

6. Educational expectations too low. (6.9 average response) Further restricting that potential are low expectations from too many educators.

7. Recognize distrust of government. (8.7 average response) In addressing solutions, it's important to recognize that many immigrants distrust government, having been oppressed and exploited in native lands.

8. Replicate successful programs. (8.6 average response) Programs such as Torch in Northfield, MN, which substantially increased Latino high school graduation rates, should be widely replicated.

9. Create immigrant enterprise zones. (5.7 average response) Immigrant enterprise zones offering legal status for work without necessarily requiring citizenship would help to realize the potential economic benefit of immigrants.

 

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

0%

9%

45%

45%

11

2. Further study warranted.

0%

0%

27%

36%

36%

11

3. Immigrants bring economic benefit.

0%

0%

9%

36%

55%

11

4. Immigrants will reduce worker shortage.

0%

0%

9%

45%

45%

11

5. Cultural views limit potential.

0%

9%

0%

55%

36%

11

6. Educational expectations too low.

0%

9%

36%

18%

36%

11

7. Recognize distrust of government.

0%

0%

0%

60%

40%

10

8. Replicate successful programs.

0%

0%

0%

64%

36%

11

9. Create immigrant enterprise zones.

9%

18%

18%

55%

0%

11

Individual Responses:

Anonymous   (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

2. Further study warranted. Some of us are beyond the influential age, but much from the interview should be relayed to the active generation.  It is important that the working population understand that immigration is not to replace them but to provide the future employers and leaders.  I think most of us understand the hard working concept of most of the Latino community but fail to recognize that ability should  and could be transferred to education with changes in our attitude. We are missing a great opportunity.

Phil Kinnunen  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (0)

1. Topic is of value. Mr. Garcia has a very clear view of the problem and some of the solutions.  Illegal immigrants are a problem that must be solved sooner than later.  Ignoring and kicking the can down the road has gone on too long.  He has ideas that older, white Americans conservatives can agree with.  Mr. Garcia must be supported in his efforts.

2. Further study warranted. Not just interviews, but public education and outreach to all Minnesota counties.  There is much fear in older and middle aged Americans regarding some of the realities we have to face.

3. Immigrants bring economic benefit. How many of us are not the descendants of immigrants?  We don't necessarily need new paradigms, we need to return to some of the ones that have been deemed old fashioned: God, Country, Family.  Families need work.  The more people we have, the more jobs we'll create, but they need to be industrial jobs not just service sector jobs.

4. Immigrants will reduce worker shortage. If people have the freedom to work and grow, they will.

5. Cultural views limit potential. This is true from both sides.  America is a great country because when Europeans came here they became Americans, and success came from learning English and how to grow and prosper, not by refusing to change and trying to make the "new" country like the "old" country.  Don't give people more than they need as a helping hand; help them to help themselves so that they want to work hard to get ahead.

6. Educational expectations too low. There is too much about "fairness" a "level playing field".  Don't make people victims; make them achievers.

7. Recognize distrust of government. This is true here too. We should distrust government; those that are elected must be held accountable, public employees as well.

9. Create immigrant enterprise zones. If someone is living and working here and going to live their life here, they must become a citizen of the United States of America.  On this issue there should not be any compromise.

Kevin Edberg  (7.5)  (5)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (5)  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)

2. Further study warranted. It would be useful to understand the skills and resources that modern immigrants bring.  As described in the interview, how many are college educated and speak three languages vs. how many come with minimal assets and educational attainment?  Understanding that dynamic would be useful in understanding the potential required investment (education, social services, etc.) and the potential ROI.

3. Immigrants bring economic benefit. What is the required investment and with what payoff?  The interview didn't help me understand that.

6. Educational expectations too low. I don't know.  It's easy to always blame the educators, and I bridled at that.  In some urban and rural communities (especially those where meat processing is a dominant economic force) classroom teachers are dealing with a full complement of kids, and several different second languages present in the same classroom.  The interview acknowledges the norms of immigrant families placing priority on work over education, in their communities of origin.  How that gets shifted within the family in a Minnesota community requires a whole different level of commitment.  How many Jaime Escalante’s can we find or cultivate?

Don Anderson  (5)  (5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)

Vici Oshiro  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)

9. Create immigrant enterprise zones. Need to know more before judging.

Mark Ritchie  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)  (na)

Great interview, thanks.

Paul Hauge  (8)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (3)  (5)  (na)  (8)  (7)

Tom Spitznagle  (9)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (9)  (5)  (8)  (8)  (3)

David Detert  (9)  (5)  (9)  (9)  (8)  (1)  (8)  (8)  (9)

Chuck Lutz  (9)  (9)  (10)  (8)  (9)  (7)  (8)  (10)  (8)

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (6)  (10)  (10)  (8)  (8)  (8)  (8)  (9)

It’s sad to see the degree of racism and classism still in our state. Immigration reform is needed but Congress dithers. Minnesota should make its own limited rules in the absence of federal legislation. Immigrant groups add richness and economic vitality.

R. Brown  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (8)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7)

Excellent discussion with useful information.

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (executive director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie, Dan Loritz (chair),
Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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